Shelton Woodland Site, County Wicklow; Archaeological Report
This site is located approximately 5km north-west of Arklow town, Co. Wicklow (Figure 65). This forest site is located within a 'Natural Heritage Area' (NHA).
2.17.2 Receiving Environment
County Wicklow or in Irish "Cill Mhaintáin"; a Danish name meaning "Viking meadow" (Flanaghan & Flanaghan 1994, 125); old forms of the name: Wkynnglo, Wygyngelo, Wykinlo. Old Irish name "Kilmantain", the church of St. Mantan, one of St. Patrick's disciples. This saint according to the Annals of Clonmacnoise and other authorities, had his front teeth knocked out by a blow of a stone, from one of the barbarians who opposed St Patrick's landing in Wicklow; hence he was called "Mantan", or 'the toothless' (Joyce 1856, 75).
Shelton; named after the abbey at Shelton; a fine example of gothic architecture. Robert Hassells acquired the small estate of Arklow by lease from the countess of Dromard in 1658 and his house there was given the name Shelton Abbey by his wife; a common place name in England" (Price 1980, 475).
Arklow; a Scandinavian name meaning "Arnkell's Meadow" (Flanaghan & Flanaghan 1994, 125). Arklow in 1177 was known as "Herkelou", or "Herketelou" (Gesta Henrici secundi, I p. 163). In 1279 as "Arclo"; in 1411 as "Arcnlo". The name derives from the Norse person named Arnkell, combined with "lo", "swamp", or "low-lying meadow near water". Artlebeck in Lancashire contains the O. N. name "Arnketill, Arnkill (Ekwall, place-name of Lancashire p.168). Adam filins Arkil is one of the names in the Dublin Roll of Names circa 1200 (Gilbert History & Munic. Documents, p.19) from (O' Brien 1980, 475).
Kilbride; the same as Kilbreedy. "Cill-Bhrighde", St. Brigid's Church (Joyce 1856, 27).
The topography of the site comprises:
(i) Flat and dry land
An analysis of Ordnance Survey maps from the early nineteenth century to date gives a picture of the development of the townland over time. The forest site comprises two sites in this instance.
The Down Survey map c.1656 shows the barony of Arklow. The parish of Kilbride is not noted but in the vicinity of Arklow a number of significant features are denoted including: 'Arklow Castle', 'Abbyland' and 'Abby' (Figure 67). The 'Abby' is located north to north-east of the 'Abbyland' and south-east of 'Arklow Castle' and possibly represents the lands and abbey of Shelton Abbey. A number of large houses are denoted in the vicinity including two houses to the south-east of 'Arklow Castle' and north-west of the 'Abby' while five houses of different sizes are located south-east of the 'Abby'. These possibly represent the large house in the vicinity of Shelton Abbey and Shelton already discussed above e.g. Woodmount House, Kilbride House and Glenart Castle on the south-east and Sheepwalk House north-east of Shelton Abbey.
The 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1838-1839) shows the two forest sites as they look today (Figure 68). The eastern site is completely forested while the western site comprises forested areas and an open rectilinear field plot on its north-eastern side. The eastern forest site is located within the townland of Shelton while the western forest site is located within the townland of Shelton Abbey. Shelton contains 202 acres 3 roods and 2 perches while Shelton Abbey contains 728 acres 1 rood and 17 perches. Shelton townland on the east is forested in the south-east corner comprising the forest site while the northern portion and western portion of the townland are subdivided into large rectilinear plots with trails or pathways running in a north-west south-east direction. A number of forest trails zig-zag through the forest site. The townland of Kilbride to the south of Shelton is laid out in rectilinear plots some of which are tree-lined in the northern portion of the townland. 'Kilbride Ho.' is clearly visible as well as 'Woodmount Ho.' in the north-east of the townland and 'Kilbride Church (in ruins) and Graveyard' located in the north of the townland. The townlands of Coolboy and Ballinaheese to the north-east and east of Shelton show no woodland cover.
Abbey townland comprising the western forest site shows 'Shelton
Abbey' at its centre with dense woodland to the north-west and
south-west. The land in the south-western portion of the townland
is laid out in large rectilinear plots with tree-lined boundaries
evident. The south-western portion of the forest site in this
location shows an area of formal garden beds or agricultural beds
possibly belonging to the nearby Shelton Abbey House to the north-west.
In the north-east corner of the townland two circular rings of
trees are noted as well as an outline of a rectilinear feature
called 'Graveyard'. This represents SMR WI040:020. In the townland
of Sheepwalk to the north of Shelton Abbey, 'Sheepwalk Ho.' is
defined surrounded by planted trees or perhaps an orchard to the
north-east of the house as the trees present are planted in rows.
A tree-lined avenue runs north-east from the house. 'Cromwell's
Stone' is denoted to the south-east of Sheepwalk House in the
townland of Sheepwalk. To the south-west of Shelton Abbey and
Shelton, a densely forested area is located in which 'Glenart
Castle' is at its centre. The castle is surrounded on all sides
with open laid out fields. Directly around the castle are circular
formal gardens and square shaped gardens to the north-west. There
are two 'School Ho.' denoted in the townland of Glenart, one beside
the castle and the other in the north-east corner of the townland.
The 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1907-1910) shows the same area of woodland cover as that denoted on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map above. Both forest sites are shown as before. Shelton Abbey is well defined on the west within Shelton Abbey townland (Figure 69). It contains 712 acres 2 roods and 11 perches while Shelton townland contains 210 acres 3 roods and 16 perches. Kilbride House' is located in Kilbride townland to the south-east of Shelton Abbey townland and south of Shelton townland. The area to the south-west of Shelton Abbey and Shelton is densely forested and 'Glenart Castle' is clearly marked with well laid out formal gardens. The castle is completely surrounded by forest in all directions. This castle has some open ground to the west of the castle laid out in two oval field plots. This open land around the castle has been somewhat reduced on the east side by planted forests than that which appears on the 1st O.S. map (1838-1839).
Wicklow is today one of Ireland's most heavily afforested counties with 18 per cent of its total area under forest, compared to the national average of 5 per cent. The forest of sitka spruce which now predominate in Wicklow are relatively young, most having been planted since the early 1920's, and are very different from the largely deciduous woodlands of earlier centuries.
Pollen studies aid in identifying the presence of types of trees in our landscape during this time. For example the existence of pine and birch forests has been documented in upland Wicklow (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 55).
The written evidence for the distribution of woodland in county Wicklow is poor for the earlier period. However, it is possible to gauge an extent of the woods from the townland names, which were fixed by the eight century. Placenames indicate the existence of some type of tree cover in these locations. It is clear that large tracts of ancient woodland existed in Wicklow (Hannigan & Nolan 1994, 56).
and Nolan note that the trees in the Wicklow woods included as
Ash (Coolafunshoge, Ballinafunshoge)
Willow (Corsillagh, Parknasilloge)
Hazel (Barnacoyle, Callowhill)
Birch (Bahand, Barnavay)
Holly (Cullenmore, Lugaculleen)
Elder (Troman, Rrumonmore)
Yew (Oghil, Newry and Newrath)
Some areas were covered with woody scrub. Some written evidence for a wooded county Wicklow comes from the St Kevins Life in the eight century which describes the valleys east and west of the mountains of the Wicklow Gap as being covered in dense derserted forest (Ibid, 57).
"The Anglo-Norman invasion had important implications for woodlands in the vicinity of Dublin and Wicklow. They brought with them the idea of private ownership of the land and what stood upon it. The woods of Wicklow, because of their proximity to Dublin, were particularly attractive.
A large proportion of land in the county came under the operation of forest laws as may be seen by the license granted to Henry II in 1229 to Luke, archbishop of Dublin, for 'the deforestation of certain lands of that state' (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 27). While forests were in Norman hands they were exploited for the English market. The Normans introduced resources and machinery to fell and export timber, but except for Wicklow there was no significant attempt at management. At this time the Gaelic population of county Wicklow was almost exclusively confined to wooded uplands where pastoral activities formed the basis of their economy. Uncharted dense forests were major assets for a lightly armed, highly mobile Irish army. Richard II realised that the greatest threat to the Anglo-Norman colony was the Leinster forest. In 1399 he employed five thousand people to cut a way through the forest for the royal army on its trek from the Barrow valley (stronghold of Art MacMurrough) to the Wicklow coast. From their woodland refuges Mac Murrough's men picked off stragglers at the rear of the royal army. The expedition left Richard with a famished and very much reduced army by the time he reached the coast. Two centuries after Richard's invasion, the Wicklow forests, although less extensive, were still harbouring the Leinster clans" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 28).
"It is difficult to estimate the extent of woodland in Wicklow at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The Down Survey maps of 1655 show some woodlands but only forfeited land were surveyed and it is an incomplete record. Some woods are referred to as timber woods but many are classified as woody pastures. The density of tree coverage in the latter category is unclear" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 29).
Hannigan and Nolan in Wicklow: History and Society indicate that the county's cartographic heritage, prior to the first ordnance survey, is not particularly revealing on woodland. A 1707 map by Nevill shows there was an extensive woodland near Arklow. A Carysfort estate map of townlands near Arklow shows 500 plantation acres of woodland in 1726 or approximately 5 per cent of the area. Old coppice woods could be found near Rathdrum. South of the area was Ballygannon with approximately 33 per cent woodland cover. The Taylor and Skinner maps of the roads between Wicklow and Arklow around 1777 show extensive woodlands in the valleys of the Avonmore, Avonbeg and Avoca rivers. The Meath estate maps show that the Rathdrum area appears to have retained extensive woodland into the nineteenth century.
"Reports, surveys and tourist guides supplement our knowledge of woodland nature, distribution and use in Wicklow during the eighteenth and nineteenth century. The Malton estate had coppices in the early 1700's at Rathdrum. The surveys indicate that the coppices were composed of oak with some birch, hazel and ash. Apart from the pure oak stands, there appear to have been three other stand mixtures. On the valley floors and lower slopes there were birch-hazel-oak woods. Hazel were absent at higher levels. On the free-draining steep slopes, there were ash-hazel-oak woods such as at the Avonmore valley, south of Rathdrum. Alder and sally were locally important on wet ground. The estate of forests in Wicklow at this time were important sources in providing underwood, bark, and timber from large trees whose by-products were used in ship building, tanning, charcoal production and building projects" (Ibid).
"Wicklow's timber resources were apparently adequate to supply a variety of industries in the eighteenth century and well into the first half of the nineteenth century. The planting and management of woodlands were undertaken in many parts of the county. The general availability of turf for fuel may have alleviated tenants' timber requirements. The best woodland in eighteenth century Wicklow was found to be found in the east,, especially in the valleys of the Avonmore, Avonbeg and Avoca rivers; these provided revenue for the many large estates in the area. East Wicklow's valleys were incorporated into the landscaping of the demesnes. Soils in the east of the county tend to be more fertile than their counterparts in similar locations in the west and this was an added bonus for settlers. Many new tree species were introduced tot he country t this time. Hayes in 1794 commented on fine mature exotic trees, some of which must have been planted in the preceding century. There were very large sycamores in Shillelagh, Rathdrum and Kilmacurra" (Ibid).
"From references to woods during the seventeenth century, there was sufficient woodland in Wicklow at the beginning of the century to support the expansion of timber-consuming industries. In 1654 there was an organised forestry department in the county with staff consisting of a wood reeve earning £100 a year, four assistants and a clerk with annual salaries of £26 d £20, respectively. The names on the Hearth Money Rolls of 1669 may suggest that imported, skilled forest labour was used. Charcoal was exported from the county to south Wales in the early 1600s. A network of over fifty iron works was established in Wicklow around 1640 by an Englishman called Bacon which utilised the availability of woodland to supply the iron works" (Ibid).
"Travellers who toured Ireland in the eighteenth century reveal great detail about the places in which they passed through. Arthur Young wrote of the Vale of Arklow that "the extent of the woods induced me to imagine I was in the midst of one of those immense forests seen only on the continent". Another notable traveller was Hayes who in 1794 described Shelton as "the seat of Lord Viscount Wicklow, also finely wooded. It was to Shelton that the first beech was taken into Ireland. Trees were propagated from their mast and distributed to other parts of the country" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 58). Wright also commented on Shelton woods "which now consist chiefly of oak trees which from their too great closeness have all run to a height of about 40 feet bearing no foliage but scanty toppings at the top" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 59).
"In 1801 Frazer's Statistical Survey of county Wicklow recorded that the woods in the county were principally coppices which are usually cut at thirty years growth. However, most of the woods belonged to absentee landlords and as a result were generally neglected until they reached felling age. Frazer estimated that the actual loss suffered by the mismanagement of the woods of non-residents in the county for the previous ninety years-assuming the woods to amount to only 2,500 acres was £1.063,750. He further noted that before 1798 planting was going on rapidly in the county and a number of candidates had applied for the tree premiums of the Dublin Society. A report under the direction of the Royal Dublin Society by Thomas Radcliff in 1812 indicated the presence of woodland at Arklow by mapping. In the first half of the nineteenth century the woodland was considered to be in a good state in the eastern part of the county.
The first edition Ordnance Survey map gives the most accurate estimate of woodland distribution at the beginning of that century. The largest expanse of woodland was in the Arklow area especially around Glenart Castle and Shelton Abbey. There had been little change in forest cover in this area since 1726 survey. Extensive woodland was also located in the Avonmore valley at Glenwealy, the Devil's Glen and the Enniskerry area. The west of the county had only small pockets of woodland. Pure conifer plantations were concentrated here, because there was probably a need to establish forests due to the relative scarcity of substantial tree cover" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 60).
"A significant change occurred in the species composition of the woods around then. The majority were no longer pure deciduous woods because of the practice of using conifers as a nurse crop for the hardwoods. On the later O.S. maps many of these mixed woods were marked as deciduous woods, presumably because the conifers had been felled. A rough estimate of tree cover in 1839 was 2.5 per cent. The second edition O.S. map at the end of the nineteenth century shows little change in woodland cover (2.6 per cent), apart from conifer expansion into the uplands of west Wicklow" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 62).
"In 1841, 3.5 per cent of county Wicklow was covered with plantations. Wicklow was estimated to have 17,644 acres of woodland in 1902. The collapse of the landlord system forced the state to assume responsibility for the production of timber. However, before 1922 only 1,200 acres were planted. A forestry school was established at Avondale, the former house of Samuel Hayes and, later, Charles Parnell. Many of the first forests in the country were planted in Wicklow. The afforestation of valleys with conifers began after 1920" (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 63). The afforestation of county Wicklow with conifers accelerated from the 1950s to give us the present tree cover of just under 18 per cent (Hannigan and Nolan 1994, 64).
An early account of the parish of Kilbride is gained from Samuel Lewis in his Topographical Dictionary of Ireland during his travels in the early nineteenth century:
"Kilbride, a parish partly in the barony of Arklow, county of Wicklow and province of Leinster, 2 miles north by west from Arklow on the river Avoca and the road to Wicklow; contains 1,192 inhabitants. It has a coast and is generally under a good state of cultivation. Shelton Abbey, seat of earl of Wicklow described in the article on Arklow is partly within its limits; and there are several good residences of which the principal are Sheepwalk that of T. Murray Esq., Seabank of R. Hudson Esq., Ballymoney of Rev. M. J. Mayers and Killiniskyduff of M. Hudson Esq.
The living is a vicarage in the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough, prior to 1833 a part of union of Arklow and now united with the vicars of Enorely and Templemichael. The tithes amount per annum £200.6.2. The Church erected in 1834 by Earl of Wicklow in English style with a square embattled tower crowned with pinnacles. The chapel is neat and spacious edifice circa 210 children are taught in public schools supported by Earl and Countess of Wicklow; two infant schools, one supported by the Countess and the other by Rev. M. J. Mayers, also a Sunday school. The ruins of the old church are on an eminence, a view of the town and bridge of Arklow, sea, the demesne of
Shelton Abbey and the woods of Glenart. In the churchyard is a mausoleum of Howard family; there is also an old burial place at Templereeny" (Lewis 1837, 39).
It comprises 5,441 statute acres chiefly in hill and valued at £2117 per annum. Here is Camolin Park occupied by J. Edward Esq., The parish is in the diocese of Ferns and the rectory forms part of the union and prebend of Tomb. The tithes amount to £204.18.5 and a half. In the Roman Catholic division is in the union or district of Ferns and has a chapel at Ballyduff. About 40 children are educated in a public and 50 in a private school" (Lewis 1837, 77).
O' Donovan writes of "The property of the Earl of Carysfort. Contains 229 acres, 2 roods, 36 perches, all arable. Leases are for 21 years or one life, rents from 10/- to 30/- per Irish acre; shape oval, greatest length from north to south is five fifths, mean breadth five eights of a mile, a road leading to Arklow bounds it on the north and east and a stream on west; there is a thick planting on north, west and east sides, an ancient fort in central south, a well in central west; houses few in good repair and Polahoney Bridge in the north extremity; roads sufficiently numerous. Ballyrane House is in the south-east end of the townland" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 30/29).
Donovan further describes Arklow parish:
"Arklow Parish: Where this river meets the parish, which is a distance of five miles from the sea, its bed is twenty feet above the low water; there are several small streams passing through the different parts of the parish; there is a good quantity of wood in the parish, principally in the vicinity of Glenart House, which is central north of the parish.
Arklow town is situated in north-east extremity in which are the only places of worship in the parish for description of which 'The houses throughout the parish are generally stone; they are pretty numerous and in small clusters. The house having distinctive names are Lamberton House, Ballyrane House and Ballynatten House in east, Upper Kilmurry House in south and Glenart, Ballygriffin and Thomastown House in central part of the parish. The Antiquities are St. Divers Well; ruins of church and a fort in south-east and a remarkable rath or fort of a square form in the wood west of Ballyrane House' (O' Donovan 1838-40, 18/4).
Price notes an historical account of the Howard family whereby "in 1799, Robert Hassells acquired the small estate of Arklow by lease from the countess of Dromard in 1658 and his house there was given the name Shelton Abbey by his wife; a common place name in England" (Price 1980, 475).
"Shelton and Shelton Abbey are adjoining townlands. Each of them, at the period of the Name Book (1838-39), was held by the Earl of Wicklow as demesne, but probably at an earlier period parts of them were farmland held by tenants. The deeds of 1594 to 1638 include several names now obsolete; some of the places may have been hereabouts such as "Ballenemoyne"(A 263), ""Ballenicholas and Kilcronin" (A 264). Another is "Insithistenaghe: perhaps "inse tistiúnach", "the fourpenny river-meadow", i.e., rented for fourpence? (O' Brien 1984, 54).
There are a number of fine houses in the vicinity of Shelton forest including Shelton Abbey to the west; Sheepwalk House to the north-west; Glenart Castle to the south-west; Kilbride House to the south and finally Woodmount House to the south-east.
The importance of Shelton Wood must become apparent by the number of references to it e.g. in The Tourist Guide of Wicklow in 1860, "The splendour of Shelton Wood" is described (Anon 1850, 54). Dempsey refers to the house itself in Avoca-A History of the Vale: "Shelton Abbey; a fine example of gothic architecture and it is famous for the vastness of its library. Reference to the fact that it may be located on the site of a monastic centre" (Dempsey 1913, 60).
gives the most detailed and accurate account of Shelton-Abbey
"Shelton Abbey, Arklow, Co. Wicklow; a two storey with an eleven bay front, built 1770 by Rt. Hon. Ralph Howard, MP, afterwards 1st Viscount Wicklow; transformed into a gothic Revival abbey circa 1819 by 4th Earl of Wicklow to the design of Sir Richard Morrison; the "abbey style" being regarded as particularly suited to its "sequestered situation" in the Vale of Avoca, surrounded by thick woods. The front of the house was lavishly adorned with buttresses and pinnacles; the roof parapet and pediment were crenellated, and a single storey Gothic portico was added in the centre. A new wing of two storeys and five bays was built at right angles to the front, joined to it by a polygonal corner tower with a pointed copper roof. The entrance hall kept its handsome eighteenth century chimney piece with a scroll pediment, and its Classical niches; but was given a ceiling of elaborately moulded beams and braces of oak, with gilt pendants; in later years, these beams were painted white. Behind the entrance hall was a lofty "Prayer Hall", with stained glass windows and a ceiling of plaster fan-vaulting.
A cloistered corridor led to the Grand Staircase of oak, its landing carried on a slender Gothic arcade; and to the large and small drawing rooms, both with ceilings of plaster Gothic pendants. The dining room and library provided a contrast, being in Morrison's most restrained Classical style; the dining room having ceiling in shallow compartments and a frieze of swags; the library having a frieze of wreaths and bookcases of acroteria. The front of the house was prolonged by gabled office wing set a little back; and circa 1840 4th Earl added to the picturesque effect by building a wing further back again and on higher ground, with a clock tower and a tall and slender belfry and copper cupola. This wing was known as the Nunnery and accommodated 4th Earl's unmarried daughters; such is the power of suggestion that they became Catholics and nuns. A stable building behind the Nunnery is believed by the present Earl of Wicklow to have been the earlier house, built in the seventeenth century where, according to tradition, James II paused on his flight after the Battle of the Boyne; he had one of his nose-bleeds in the hall, and his blood spattered the door post, which was afterwards cut out and preserved as a relic for many years until a servant unwittingly used it for firewood.
The demesne has some magnificent trees and a subtropical garden laid out early in the twentieth century by 7th Earl and his 1st wife. The main avenue was almost straight and 2 miles long, bordered on each side by a high wall of rhododendrons; a seemingly unending passage which heightened the sense of
expectancy until at last, emerging into a glade, one saw the grey pinnacles and green copper roofs of the abbey backed by trees. In 1947, the present Earl of Wicklow opened Shelton as a hotel in an attempt to meet the cost of the upkeep; but he was obliged to sell it in 1951, owing to taxation. The house is now a school; the demesne is largely spoilt by industrial development" (Bence-Jones 1988, 259).
also gives an account of Glenart Castle:
"Originally a hunting lodge, known as the "Cottage at Poulnahoney"; enlarged in the castellated style at the beginning of the nineteenth century by John Proby, 1st Earl of Carysfort, and known for a period as "Kilcarra Castle", before acquiring its subsequent name of "Glenart Castle". Enlarged again in 1869 to the design of John McCurdy. A rather plain building, mostly two storey, but partly three and dominated by a square battlemented tower. Large rectangular windows with hood mouldings; three sided bows and a battlemented parapet. Partly faced with a rather unusual random ashlar. Half the house was burnt circa 1920; but the surviving half continued by the family as occasional residence until it was sold during World War II to a religious order, which has since rebuilt the house in an institutional style" (Bence-Jones 1988, 136).
Folklore Archive Collection, UCD
The following references refer to excerpts from the Irish Folklore Commission held within the Department of Irish Folklore. These include two main archival sources: (i) Irish Manuscript Collection (IFC.M) and (ii) Irish Schools Collection (IFC.S). The excerpts refer to accounts by locals of popular belief, customs, local place names and incidents that occurred in the parish as follows:
"There is a walk in Shelton Grounds called "King James walk". It is said that he used to ride his horse or walk up and down it twice or three times a day. It is now overgrown with briars".
"At the back of Shelton Abbey is a room in which it is said that King James, in his flight from the Battle of the Boyne, hid. It was a dairy then".
126.96.36.199 The study area measures 40 hectares and is divided into two parcels. It is part of a much larger mixed woodland. The study area is covered by several types of forest cover including mature conifers (Plate 65), young deciduous trees (Plate 66) and clearfelled areas (Plate 67). Most of the study area was accessible although no archaeological sites were identified.
A number of older, vernacular style buildings were located along the fringes of the site and had clearly been recently refurbished in a sensitive manner (Plate 68). Adjacent the site to the south-east is Shelton Abbey (Plate 69).
188.8.131.52 New Sites
There were no new archaeological sites identified as part of the forest survey.
2.17.4 Desk Study
The Recorded Monuments (Figure 66)
The Sites and Monuments record (SMR) of Dúchas-The Heritage Service, Department of Arts, Heritage, Gaeltacht and the Islands refers to the following sites within and in the environs of Shelton Woodland, County Wicklow.
From the 6" Ordnance Survey maps, a list of the archaeological sites and their proximity to the woodland site was compiled.
SMR No. Distance to Shelton Woodland Site Type
WI040:020 300m N of western portion Church and Graveyard
WI040:021 270m S of eastern portion Ecclesiastical Remains
WI040:021/01 270m S of eastern portion Church
WI040:021/02 270m S of eastern portion Graveyard
WI040:021/03 270m S of eastern portion Ecclesiastical Enclosure
WI040:016 850m NW of western portion Standing Stone possible
WI040:028 920m S of western portion Moated Site
WI040:017 900m NE of eastern portion Graveyard
There are no recorded archaeological sites within Shelton Woodland.
Within the environs of Shelton Woodland the following SMR sites are recorded:
Townland Shelton Abbey
Site Type Church and Graveyard
6" Co-Ordinates E62.44cm N29.11
Height O.D. c. 220' (65.70m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1939) but not on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1910). No visible indication of "Site of Graveyard" marked on 1st edition Ordnance Survey map but rectangular enclosure noted (c.60m by 25m). The site is situated on a gentle south facing slope overlooking a steep drop immediately to the south. There is no local knowledge of the site. Currently no visible trace of the site.
References "Kilbixy Parish-Kilbixy appears to have been the name of an old parish and I suggest that the church was at the site of the old graveyard at Whitsun Hill in Shelton Abbey townland. Whitsun Hill is not far from Knockanduff which is shown on the Down Survey map as a separate parish; this was outside the terrain of the Shires of Arklow and it may have been a small part of a former parish of Kilbixy which still remained as a separate division in 1655. The following townlands are near the old graveyard. Baronies of Newcastle and Arklow" (Price 1967, 474-5).
Shelton Abbey: According to a history account of the Howard family written in 1799, Robert Hassels acquired the northern shire of Arklow by lease from the Countess of Ormond in 1658 and his house there was given the name Shelton by his wife. It is a common place-name in England.
Seems to be baile na gaoithe, "farmstead of the wind", meaning an exposed place, referring to the situation of the high ground between Kilbride and Shelton Abbey House.
Shelton Estate map of 1839 records a burying place on Whitsun Hill. This place is now called Whisson's Hill. It is marked on the 1840 O.S. map as "Site of Grave Yard", in the north-west of Shelton Abbey townland but the name is not on the map. The tombstones are said to have been taken out of the graveyard and used for building c.100 years ago. I think this was the site of Kilbixy Church.
Cellbicsigi AR, CR
Cill Bicsighe; I would identify Temple Michael with Glunerene of the list of c.1280, not with Kilbixy. There may be a reference to "near Arklow in the excerpt from Bb. 70b (facs). 120b 30), but the passage is obscure and the ID is doubtful. It occurs also in Raul B. 502 and has been printed from that manuscript in the notes to the Topographic Poems of Dubhagain and O' hUidhrin .
"A burying place lies in Templemichael (Teampall Micheail-Church of St. Michael) townland and in Templerany townland there is another Churchyard. There was a burying place on "Whitsun Hill" at Shelton Abbey" (O' Donovan 1838-40, 133).
Area of Interest 100m
Distance 300m N (of eastern portion of forest)
Site Type Ecclesiastical Remains
Height O.D. c.100' (30m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1839) and on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1910).
"The name is in Irish 'Cill Brighde' which signifies the
Church of St. Brigid. In the old churchyard in Kilbride townland
are still seen the gable of an old church and a portion of a side
wall attached to it. There is also in the churchyard a monument
with the following inscription on a marble placed in one side:
"Within the walls of the adjoining church lie inserted the remains of Mrs Dorothea Howard, otherwise Hasells, relict of John Howard, Esq., who departed this life at Shelton in December 1684 to whose memory and that of their descendants and as a place of burial for his family, Ralph, Viscount Wicklow, has caused this monument to be erected in year of Our Lord 1785".
Over four round stone pillars, dressed by art which stand at the entrance of a vault and near the monument just mentioned is the following inscription:
"To the memory of Frances Parnell whose short and innocent life was denoted to her parents and her God Standing on the ground at the front of the vault I could make out no more of this inscription" (O' Donovan 1838, 133).
c.1 mile north of Arklow near Kilbride House is the ruin of a
church, the ancient Kilbride. It is mentioned as "St Brigid's
, near Arklow", in the Bull of Innocent III in 1216 and as
a church of the Diocese of Glendaloch. It was ruinous in 1630.
This after fell the course of the sun, the compiler of the list
of 1275 has returned to Arklow, the point of departure. Although
not mentioned in the 1275 list, there are two churches mentioned
in the 1179 list, of which some notice must be taken. They are
lath-Chianamor-Mhedoc and Cell Tagain" (Ronan 1927, 115).
Area of Interest 100m
Distance 270m S (of eastern portion of forest)
Site Type Standing Stone possible
6" Co-Ordinates E59.49cm N35.24cm
Height O.D. c.350' (104.60m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition Ordnance Survey map (1939) but not on the 3rd edition Ordnance Survey map (1910).
Standing stone; no visible surface trace of possible standing stone marked "Cromwell's Stone" on 1st edition Ordnance Survey map. It is located towards the foot of a marked north-east facing slope. There is no local knowledge of the site.
"Ballewooge-The lease of 1787 shows that this was the old
name of Sheepwalk. Perhaps it represents baile Mhaodhog, or possibly
baile Ui Bhuadhaigh; Woulfe says the latter name was common in
Kilkenny. A John Bowe witnesses a Carlow deed in 1568 (C.O.D.
up. 173). One would not expect the sound of the final "g"
to be preserved here, however. Cromwells Stone; not mentioned
in the Name Book. Cromwell is found as a family name in Arklow
in 1596" (Price 1967, 174).
Area of Interest N/A
Distance 850m NW (of western portion of forest)
Townland Ballyraine Middle
Site Type Moated Site
6" Co-Ordinates E61.75cm N8.86cm
Height O.D. c.100'-200'
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition (1839) and the 3rd edition (1910) Ordnance Survey maps. The site measures 62' by 62' with the ditch 12' wide and 14' deep. Traces of "site of the building on north side" denoted by Dúchas, The Heritage Service records.
References "Ballyraine: Baile an Raithin". 1556 Ballynralyn FI c.1575 (Leabhar Branach). Ballynrahyn (1567): the address of Simon Moile Asbold: probably Ballyraine, for one of the Archbolds is named as receiver of duties at Arklow in the Kildare rental, c.1500. The "Raheen" is the large square fort in Ballyraine Middle. This is an early fortified house. Price suggests a late thirteenth date for it or an early Anglo-Norman date. It was probably erected by a seneschal or other official of Theobald Walter before Arklow Castle was built" (Price 1967, 480).
"There is an old graveyard in the townland of Kilcarra; two fields in the townland of Knocknaree, one called the Raheen Meadow, but without a rath; the toher Dane's Garden. There is an old graveyard in Kilmurry Townland measuring 62 yards each way surrounded by a mound and fosse, the latter about 14 feet deep and 12 feet wide. Traces of the site of some kind of building appear in north side of it" (O' Donovan 1838, 157).
"There is a curious fortification in the townland of Courtfoyle, south of Kiltimon; it is square in shape and consists of an earthen bank, 56 yards long on each side, which shows traces of having been faced with masonry on the outside, and a ditch surrounding it outside the bank; the ditch is filled with water from a small stream, which also makes the ground near the fort wet and marshy. The place appears to get its name, "Cuirt phuill"-the court of the pool,
its situation in wet ground. There is no information however,
to show when it was built. The earliest mention of the place that
I have found is in 1610: the proprietor, Callogh Birne, seems
to have been a man of some standing. His residence was probably
in this fortified enclosure, but the fortification itself must
be considerably older than his time. Forts of the same type, square,
with level enclosure, surrounded by a bank and ditch, existed
at Raheenmore near Wick and at Chapel near Redcross and a large
one still survives in good condition near Arklow. The fort near
Arklow is in the townland of Ballyraine Middle, about half a mile
south-west of an odd ford called the Horse ford across the Avonmore
River. The bank is c.80 yards in length and the bottom of the
ditch is in places as much as twenty feet in depth below the top
of the bank. This ditch may have been originally filled wit water
for a small stream runs into it at one corner" (Price 1936,
Area of Interest 50m
Distance 920m S (of western portion of forest)
Site Type Graveyard
6" Co-Ordinates E84.48cm N32.57cm
Height O.D. c.150' (44.80m)
Description The site is marked on the 1st edition (1839) and 3rd edition (1910) Ordnance Survey maps.
References O' Donovan J. 1838-1840 Ordnance Survey Letters p.37(24)
"Templerainy townland: Teampull Raignige, St. Raine's (virgins) church. Templerainy Graveyard called after the townland. In the central part of the townland, an old graveyard and burying ground and now used as a place of sepulcure. H. Tucker, Capt. R. Eng.
On marble in monument is:-
Within the walls of the adjoining
Church lie interred the
Mrs. Dorothea Howard otherwise
Of John Howard Esq.
Who departed this life at Shelton
In December 1684 to whose
Memory and that of their descendants
And as a place to the Memory of Frances Parnell
Whose short and innocent
Was devoted to her parent and
"Templerainy, parish of Kilbride; burial graveyard and eighteenth century tombstones" (Reynolds 1946, 814).
Area of Interest 100m
Distance 900m NE (of eastern portion of forest)
184.108.40.206 The desk study revealed no recorded archaeological sites within Shelton forest and five known archaeological sites within the surrounding townlands.
The Topographical Files of the National Museum of Ireland were examined in which all stray finds are provenanced to townland. The following is a list of the townlands within and in the environs of Shelton forest.
Proximity to Forest
Kilbride Adjacent to South and South-East
Shelton Within and Adjacent to North-West
Coolboy Adjacent to East
Raheen To North-East
Shelton Abbey Within
Sheepwalk Adjacent to North
Killeagh Adjacent to North-West
There are five stray finds recorded from the surrounding townlands. There are four stray finds provenanced to the adjacent townland of Kilbride to the south and south-east. These comprise a stone slab (1970:189), a broken bronze pin and medieval pottery sherd (1940:116,117), two Early Christian grave slabs and crosses and one quern stone (1940:111-115) and burnt bone fragments (1959:18). There is one stray find from the adjacent townland of Coolboy to the east. This comprises a stone lamp. All are described below.
There are no stray finds recorded from other adjacent and surrounding townlands in the vicinity of Shelton forest site.
6" Co-Ordinates Not Indicated
Registration No. 1931:169
Find(s) Stone Lamp
Acquisition Purchased from Mr. Michael Carton, Coolboy, Arklow, Co. Wicklow through Mr. J. Barnett, Dublin
Description It was ploughed up in a field in Coolboy. No other details in file.
Barony Lower Talbotstown
6" Co-Ordinates Not Indicated
Registration No. 1970:189
Find(s) Stone Slab
Gift of D.D. Hussey, 22 Alma Road, Monkstown, Dublin
Description Surface find, roughly rectangular in shape, one broad face is more or less level and is worked, the other is irregular and undressed. Both sides and one end are unworked and irregular in outline. The other end is worked, convex in outline although set at an acute angle to the plane of the worked face. This face bears a rectangular depression near one end, at right angles to the middle of one side of which is a narrow channel running to the opposite end of the stone. Overall Length of stone 42cm; Width 25cm; Maximum thickness 14.5cm. Channel 26cm long and 3cm wide. The object was found in a graveyard at Manor Kilbride.
On lands of Violet Hill in Kilbride
6" Co-Ordinates Not indicated
Registration No. 1940:116, 117
Find(s) Broken Bronze Pin (117); Potsherd, medieval (116)
Acquisition Preserved. Presented by Mrs. Darley Miller, Violet Hill, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Description From a burial mound. The potsherd is the "part of the handle of a medieval jug" referred to in JRSAI 1939 69, p176. The mound is there described pp.173f. For the slabs see above note in JRSAI.
In the grounds of Violet Hill, Kilbride
6" Co-Ordinates Not Indicated
Registration No. 1940:111-115
Find(s) Two Early Christian grave slabs and crosses
one quern stone (all of granite)
Acquisition Preserved. Presented by Mrs. Darley Miller, Violet Hill, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Description None in file.
Barony Talbotstown Lower
6" Co-Ordinates 4.2cm from N and 25.2 cm from E.
Registration No. 1959:18
Find(s) Burnt Bone Fragments
Acquisition Site inspected 22/05/1959 by A. T. Lucas and E.P. on the farm of Mr. Murphy, Manor, Kilbride, Co. Wicklow
Description Small fragments of burnt bone without recognisable features. Maximum measurements: 1.8cm by 1cm by 3mm. Recovered from the burnt material in a pit found in a ploughed filed.
The scale of works planned for this site will involve both clearfelling and planting. Both of these processes are inherently destructive with ground disturbances associated with the use of heavy machinery (for tree removal) and preparation of the land for planting (with the excavation of drainage ditches).
the areas to be affected have been surveyed in an attempt at locating
and identifying previously unknown archaeological sites, no new
sites were revealed. However, it must be borne in mind that archaeological
remains with little above ground surface expression may survive
below the ground surface. Such features would only be revealed
during earthmoving and ground preparation works where such archaeological
sites would be directly compromised by these subsequent works.
Please see the mitigations and recommendation section in volume
1 for suggested mitigations.
*Please note that it was not possible to reproduce figures for inclusion on the website version of the reports.